Will 'Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll' Return For Season 3? Denis Leary Seems Confident

For two seasons of Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, Johnny Rock has struggled to keep his aging rock band, the Heathens, together while simultaneously helping his estranged daughter with her own burgeoning music career. There have been plenty of highs (literally) and even more lows (because that's what good drama is made of). But every great rock band breaks up eventually… and every great TV shows comes to an end. But will the FX musical comedy be coming to a premature end this Thursday night after its Season 2 finale? Or will Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll be renewed for Season 3?

That's a tricky question to answer, given that FX has yet to official announce a renewal or cancellation for the sophomore half-hour series. During its first nine episodes, Season 2 has been averaging 415,000 viewers per week, down since the 613,000 viewers it was averaging in its inaugural season.

Those numbers make Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll the lowest-rating scripted series on all of FX — not only under such certifiable sensations as American Horror Story and The People v. O.J. Simpson, but also less buzzy dramas like Tyrant and The Strain and the network's two other comedies, Louie and Baskets.

The former comedy averaged 478,000 viewers in its latest season, while the latter drew an average of 589,000 viewers throughout Season 1, which means that this year, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll went from being FX's highest-rated comedy to being its lowest. And with two more comedies coming down the pipeline this season — Donald Glover's rap series Atlanta and the Louis C.K.-produced Better Things — the question is how much time and resources the network has to commit to a show that continually pulls in less than half a million viewers.

Of course, there's another factor at play here, which I'll simply refer to as the "Denis Leary Factor." The actor created, executive produces, and stars in the show, in addition to writing and directing the occasional episode — and FX has a long-standing relationship with Leary, whose previous series, the firefighter drama Rescue Me, ran for seven seasons on the network from 2004-2011. Depending on how strong FX's relationship with Leary is (and how much of his own money he's willing to put into producing the show), it's conceivable that the network will essentially let him run the show as long as he wants.

Leary himself certainly seems to assume Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll will be returning for Season 3. In an interview with IndieWire in advance of the show's Season 2 premiere, when answering a question about new staff writer Julieanne Smolinski (the show's first female writer, who also works on Netflix's Grace And Frankie), Leary answered that, "I’m hoping Julieanne’s going to read this and realize how much I love her and then want to come back for Season 3." The casualness with which Leary tosses off this statement speaks to his confidence in the future of his show.

Of course, that's far from confirmation that FX will choose to renew the series for a third go-around; with the kinds of numbers it's pulling in week to week, a renewal will certainly be an uphill battle. But given Leary's standing with the network, there's no reason for fans to lose hope just yet. In the immortal words of Journey… don't stop believin'.

Images: Jeff Neumann/FX (3)